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Did the internet kill HMV and Blockbuster?

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Both Blockbuster and HMV announced that they were going into administration this week, causing much mourning for old school fans.

The fall of HMV is set to significantly change the way our high streets look forever, wiping major music retailers off the scene following the closing of Virgin’s last stores in 2009. It marks a change in the consumer’s relationship with music: whilst our parents generation fondly remember their first record and we look back on the tapes and CDs we’ve hoarded over our formative years, this generation will think back to their first music download and their first mp3 player. Somehow, seeing a track fall into your iTunes isn’t the same as coming home with a physical copy in your hands. 

Similarly, renting a film has dramatically changed over the past ten years. Opening its doors for the first time in 1989, Blockbuster has recently seen increasing competition from online sites such as LoveFilm, which allow you to stream films without having to leave the house. Blockbusters own online rental site, blockbuster.co.uk, has struggled to equal its rivals. The company’s failure to keep up has meant that more than 100 outlets have been closed over the past few years. It again signifies a step towards a different relationship with the industry - no more Sunday afternoon trips to the rental store to pick out a family classic. 

Both stores have also faced huge problems concerning the illegal downloading and streaming of films and music that has risen over the past decade. The music industry is facing particular hardships with trying to prevent people simply downloading albums and tracks for free rather than purchasing them. Equally, films are easily accessible to stream online even before they have been released on DVD. It makes it almost impossible for the companies to make a profit.

It’s scene that is becoming more and more familiar, with camera store Jessops closing all of its stores at the start of the year after it failed to compete with competition from supermarkets and Internet retailers. The nostalgia that accompanies these stores is being quickly left behind by the ease and convenience of internet shopping. Combined with the incessant recession that we are facing, the view of the high street and our attitudes towards it is set to become more and more distant.  

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